From roaming deer and ancient trees in Richmond Park to Italian fountains and pretty flowers in Kensington Gardens, London boasts some of the most beautiful parks and gardens in the country. This study session explores the history of some of these fantastic green spaces and how you can research your own local park in London.
For the first part of the session, we have invited Paul Rabbitts to talk about the history of London’s parks and gardens from the early origins of the Great Royal Parks and the Pleasure Gardens of the 18th century to the Victorian heyday of parks and their decline in the 1960s, 70s and 80s. With a master’s degree in Landscape Architecture, Paul has experience delivering several park restoration projects across the UK. Now working as Head of Parks, Open Spaces & Projects with Watford Borough Council, Paul brings a passion and enthusiasm for parks, their history and evolution. Through this talk, you will learn what makes a great park, about their ‘parkitecture’ including examples of lodges, lakes, bandstands, fountains, lidos, palm houses, and about some of the major historic moments and events associated with London’s parks and gardens.
This talk will be followed by an opportunity to find out more about the resources we have in the RHS Lindley Library which can help you learn more about your local park or garden in London. You will see examples of parks we know well and others which are ripe for potential research projects.
Refreshments will be available during a short break.
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[partial view] Coloured postcard of Finsbury Park with a family group, 22 February 1906. RHS Lindley Collections.